One of the newest members of the Medical Education Campus (MEC) community is Sergeant Debera Long who will supervise the Police staff at the MEC and work collaboratively with the Police on other campuses.
Long has been at NOVA since June 2005 and recently transferred from the Woodbridge Campus where she was an officer and, for the last six months, acting sergeant.
After 22 years in the Army, the North Carolina native retired in 2000 as a First Sergeant based out of Ft. Eustis, Virginia. Hoping to spend more time with her family post retirement, Long used her VA benefits to attend St. Leo University (Florida) online and earn her B.A. in Criminal Justice. At a criminal justice job fair, she stopped by the NOVA table and saw that they were recruiting for police officers.
“It was an opportunity to do what I do, but also to spend time with people,” Long said. “I filled out an application, and they called me.” After attending the Police Academy to certify in the Commonwealth of Virginia, she took a position as a patrol officer at NOVA’s Woodbridge Campus.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that we are not security guards; we are police. Because we are state employees, we have the same training and responsibilities of an officer in a regular precinct,” she said.
“Our goal is to protect and to serve. We want to keep the faculty, staff and students of this campus safe 24/7. But, we also provide top-notch customer service to the campus as well. Because the Campus Police office is right at the garage and visitor’s parking entrance of the MEC building, people stop in all the time to ask directions, get information and receive other assistance.”